Connecticut Hops For Connecticut Beer

Connecticut-Produced Hops


Since 2015, Smokedown Farm and Pioneer Hops have produced more than 5,000 pounds of pelleted hops for Connecticut craft breweries.

Connecticut’s unique sunlight, rainfall and soils create unique aromas and flavors in the hops grown here. Our hops have been described by commercial Connecticut brewers as “fruitier,” “more intense,” “fresher” and “more interesting” than the same varieties grown elsewhere.


A major contributor to the freshness and uniqueness of our hops is our commitment to drying our hops as gently as possible.

In their delicate make-up, hop cones are more like rose buds than pine cones. The aromas and tastes that end up in your beer are a multitude of complex chemical compounds found in the hop cone’s lupulin glands. Many of these compounds are very volatile and are lost when exposed to high temperatures.

To retain as much of those compounds as possible, Smokedown Farm uses little heat and Pioneer Hops uses no heat in the drying process. Yes, this is time consuming and expensive, but it is crucial to preserve the unique flavors and aromas in Connecticut-grown hops.


All of our hops are pelletized by Smokedown Farm. As with our gentle drying, we closely control the milling and pelleting processes to preserve the flavors and aromas in every batch. Our pelleted hops are packed in 11-pound, Nitrogen-flushed, 6-mil Mylar bags.


We test all of our hops for alpha and beta acids. If you’d like to see any of the results from the 2016, 2017 or 2018 harvests, please drop us a line.


CONNcade® in the sun

April 16, 2019



CONNnook® offers an attractive floral bouquet with ripe melon and an earthy, piney citrusness. Compared to Chinook grown out west, Connecticut’s sun and soil produce a Chinook with much more fruit and much less pine (thus, CONNnook®). It could easily replace a fruit-forward New Zealand hop (Nelson Sauvin, Rakau, Southern Cross in particular). The fruit- and flower-forward CONNnook® is very versatile and is an especially good aroma hop in pale ales, saisons and IPAs. AA 12-13%

The Tahoma hop, a daughter of Glacier, was introduced in 2013. Grown in Connecticut, this hop splits the aroma bill between a delicate noble spiciness / earthiness in front of a citrusy new world background. It’s delicate aroma can be best expressed in beers with lightly roasted grains--IPA, pale ale, lager, pilsner, kölsch. AA 4-5%

Bred from Swiss Tettnanger and German Hallertauer MF,  Santiam was developed to deliver noble hop aromas from American soils. It delivers moderate acids with black pepper, floral and spice aromas.  Highly versatile, it works well in both ales (India Pale Ale, Pale Ale, Bitter) and lagers (German Lager, American Lager, Pilsner) AA 3-5%

Teamaker, a relatively new variety, has the lowest alpha acids of all commercially-available hops. Its aroma is a mild, tannic spiciness, not unlike black tea, against a mildly floral background. It is best in a beers with lightly-roasted grains and works well in a Pale Ale, Saison, Gose and Bitter. AA 1-2%

Connecticut-grown Centennial expresses more fruit--peach and apricot--and far less bitterness than you’d expect. In addition to its fruitiness, our Centennial hop expresses in equal measure pine, citrus and a rich floral aroma.  Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is single-hopped with Centennial and the hop works very well in a Pale Ale, IPA or NEIPA. AA 4-5%

Connecticut-grown Challenger is a dank, spicy sledgehammer with intense cannabis resins and an herbal, flowery, citrus back end.  More dank and more spice, with less pine and less fruit, than western-US Challenger. The intensity of this hop makes it an outstanding hop in dark, sweet, malt-forward styles and also for dank, high-ABV IPAs, DIPAs and NEIPAs. AA 14-17%

The fruitiness of CONNcade® expresses peach, strawberry and mango in front of some citrus, mostly lemon and orange. Quite distinct from the generic Cascade, brewers use CONNcade® to highlight its fruit-forward aromas in Pale Ales, Golden Ales, IPAs and NEIPAs. AA 5-9%


About The Farms is an alliance between two farms, Smokedown Farm and Pioneer Hops of Connecticut.

Check out this Eyewitness News / Something’s Brewing segment featuring Pioneer Hops and one of our clients, Jeff Browning Sr. of Brewport.

James Shepherd (left) with Phil Markowski, Brewmaster, Two Roads Brewing Company.

James Shepherd (left) with Phil Markowski, Brewmaster, Two Roads Brewing Company.

Smokedown Farm - Sharon, Connecticut

Smokedown Farm is owned and run by Dr. James Shepherd. Dr. Shepherd is a physician and infectious disease specialist at Yale University School of Medicine, and has recently returned with his family from 8 years in Africa assisting programs in HIV and TB control. He has always been interested in conservation and working lands. To help preserve open green space and promote agriculture in Connecticut, he started Smokedown Farm, a nine acre hop-yard on the western edge of the Housatonic River valley on Sharon Mountain in Sharon CT. 2019 will mark the farm’s fourth harvest.

Over nine acres, Smokedown has more than 5,000 plants: Centennial, Challenger, CONNnook®, Santiam, Teamker, Tahoma and a feral hop native to the farm.

Doug Weber checking in on his babies.

Doug Weber checking in on his babies.

Pioneer Hops of Connecticut - Morris, Connecticut

Doug Weber started Pioneer to provide high-quality hops to the pioneering brewers who are remaking Connecticut’s brewing landscape. With its sandy loam soils and hill-side location, Pioneer’s hop plants are well-drained and wind-dried. With seven acres dedicated to the hop yard and buildings, Pioneer has more than 6,000 plants: Centennial, CONNcade® and CONNnook®.

Ally Hughes smiling, as always.

Ally Hughes smiling, as always.

Ally Hughes, Operations Manager

Ally is the Operations Manager at Pioneer Hops and Smokedown Farms. Raised in Nebraska as a third generation farmer, Ally spent 5 years making wine and managing a cold climate vineyard. She moved to Connecticut in 2018 to branch out into growing hops.




Something's Brewing: Pioneer Hops |

Doug Weber from Pioneer Hops shows WFSB’s Courtney Zieller around the hop yard and they taste some beer brewed with CT hops. This clip aired on the “Something’s Brewing” segment on May 24, 2019.


Find Beer


Always check the brewer's current tap list to confirm availability of any particular beer.

Brewery Name Style Hop ABV
2nd Bridge Brewing Co Challenge Me IPA Challenger 6.6%
2nd Bridge Brewing Co Conzony Cloudy Golden IPA CONNcade® 6.9%
2nd Bridge Brewing Co Cabin Fever IIPA Challenger 9.0%
Area Two Brewing Co Table Terroir American Wild Ale Tahoma 3.7%
Athletic Brewing Co CT Local Harvest Non-alcoholic IPA CONNcade® 0.3%
Back East Brewing Co Shad Derby APA Centennial 5.2%
Bad Dream Brewing Co Hostile Hitchhiker Pale Ale CONNcade® 5.5%
Bad Sons Brewing Co Conn Pale Ale CONNcade® 5.3%
Barley Head Brewing Co Obscurus Stout Crystal 7.7%
Black Hog Brewing Co Autumn Nugget APA Nugget 6.5%
Brass Works Brewing Co Mad River NEIPA CONNcade® 6.3%
Brewport Brewing Co South End Pale Ale CONNcade® 5.2%
Brewport Brewing Co Hartmann Golden Age Golden Ale CONNnook® 7.3%
City Steam Brewery and Cafe Underground Flavor Saison Tahoma 5.9%
East Rock Brewing Co Boisterous Billy IPL CONNnook® 4.8%
Erector Brewing Collective Home Slice Dry Hopped Lager CONNcade® 4.8%
Firefly Hollow Brewing Co. Local Bud IPA CONNcade® 5.9%
Great Falls Brewing Co Cascadia Farewell IPA CONNcade® 6.2%
Great Falls Brewing Co Housachronic IIIPA CONNnook® 9.0%
Half Full Brewing Co Transcend Hoppiness IPA CONNcade® 6.5%
Hog River Brewing Co Nebulous IPA Cashmere 6.0%
Housatonic Brewing Co Straight Up Blonde Blonde Ale Several 4.6%
Housatonic Brewing Co Cherry Bomb Blonde Ale CONNnook®/Horizon 4.9%
Kent Falls Brewing Co Horse Mask Party APA CONNnook®/Tahoma 5.6%
Kinsmen Brewing Co Indigo Collar Lager Teamaker 5.0%
Kinsmen Brewing Co In The Cut DIPA Several 5.0%
Little House Brewing Co Three Sheep For An Ore IPA Several 7.2%
Little House Brewing Co Tintype Brown Ale CONNcade®/CONNnook® 6.0%
Little House Brewing Co Home Grown VI IPA Challenger 6.4%
New England Brewing Co CT Hops IPA CONNnook® 6.2%
Nod Hill Brewing Co Petite Delight Belgian Table Tahoma 4.0%
Shebeen Brewing Co Mad River NEIPA CONNcade® 6.3%
Spoke And Spy Cidery Somewhat Dry Cider Teamaker 5.9%
Tox Brewing Co Mantis Table Beer CONNcade® 4.1%
Two Roads Brewing Co Typecast Farmhouse IPA Challenger 6.5%
Willimantic Brewing Co Rail Mail Rye Beer CONNcade® 6.2%
Woodbury Brewing Co 4Loco' IPA CONNnook®/Crystal 6.5%
Woodbury Brewing Co Haymaker Light Lager Tahoma/Teamaker 3.9%



These breweries brew outstanding beer with hops grown by Pioneer Hops of Connecticut and Smokedown Farm.



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Contact Us

Visit the Farms:

Get in Touch:

Pioneer Hops of Connecticut

58 Higbie Road, Dept. H

Morris, CT 06763

e: Write to Doug at

p: 203-952-8542

Smokedown Farm

196 East Street

Sharon, CT 06069

Get updates on Pioneer Hops and Smokedown Farms Facebook pages.

Photographs by Pamela Einarson Photography and Red Skies Photography.